The Beginings of Skilled Trade Enterprise in the Czech Lands

Issue: 2011/2

Jana Geršlová

Ekonomická fakulta VŠB-TU Ostrava, Sokolská 33, 701 21 Ostrava,

Development of free enterprise in the middle of the 19th century, which was based on capital relations in the sphere of both production and market, was incompatible with the old system of guild craft and its complicated regulations. The Law of the Trade Code from 1859 abolished all measures that had been in effect until then and introduced trade freedom within the new economic policy and the needs of modern enterprise. According to the law, all citizens had theoretically the access to all craft trades after paying the set taxes – this resulted in a huge wave of trades being set up. Freedom of production as well as sales was proclaimed. Commercial Code from 1862, by which the absolute free competitiveness in business ventures had been legalized, became an organic amendment to the Trade Code from 1859. The article deals with the concepts of trade, a practice of its gaining or losing, it pays attention to a number of amendments. Trade legislation was connected with commercial activity and its conditions. An important role in the support of commercial activities was played by trade and commercial associations – the article describes their long history from their formation in 1850 up to their dissolution in 1948. Working of firms in the branch of industry, commerce and craft trades was strongly influenced by licensing authorities that directly permitted or refused trade licenses. The last chapter focuses on the Law against unfair competition from 1927 that was passed as the important reaction to business practice.

DOI: 10.2478/v10135-011-0007-x
JEL: H83; N43; N44
Keywords: trade legislation, History of enterprise, economic history of the 19th and 20th century, commercial legislation